Before I discuss the whys of local agriculture, I want to go into the hows of getting started. Even if you live in an apartment with no land and no tools, you can do an organic farm THIS YEAR. Get going NOW, however, because you want to participate in the beginning of the season activities.
Step 1. Find a CSA farm near you at http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/csastate.htm
Step 2. Join as a work-share if you want to save money and/or learn how to do organic farming. With a work share you will work 3 hours a week and get a week's share of the harvest. I recommend that you work more than three hours a week to get a larger share, and use various methods to preserve the surplus harvest so you'll have a year round food supply. Here's some books to get on preserving the surplus:
Keeping Food Fresh
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... s&n=507846
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... ce&s=books
Drying with an Electric Dehydrator
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 05-5002551
Preserving the Harvest
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 05-5002551
The money you'll save from the work share will more than pay for these books. If you have plenty of cash and no time, you can definitely do a cash-share with a local CSA as well. You will basically have your own personal food supply. The way things are going in the world, this might just not be a bad idea.
If you have some land, I recommend the books "Square Foot Gardening." It's the best gardening book out there, written by an engineer. I don't have time to retell it all here, but if you have land and want to garden, you can write me at email@example.com
Now some thoughts on the Local Agriculture Movement.
A whole slew of social, economic, environmental and resource problems would be solved in one fell swoop if the Local Agriculture Movement took hold in America.
Agribusiness exploits illegal immigrants that it recruits directly from Latin America, violating our borders and sovereignty and replacing American workers. Agribusiness is incredibly cruel to animals, keeping them in cages for their whole lives and killing them on assembly lines that often botch the slaughter and allow them to suffer. We are finding that animals have emotiosn and feelings just like people do, and they even think, and in view of this it's wrong and evil to treat them like "meat machines." I'm not opposed to eating meat that was raised on a small farm in humane conditions and slaughtered painlessly. Agribusiness destroys the land on which it works, using a brutal "strip mining" model of farming. It uses pesticides and herbicides (Monsanto's "Round Up" herbicide). It genetically engineers plants that are immune to "Round Up" and then sprays Round Up, killing all weeds except the genetically engineered plant. This genetically engineered plant then cross pollinates with related wild species, thereby distrubing the balance of Nature and racially polluting non-engineered plants. Organic Farmers in Canada who grew canola for generations now cannot sell their canola because their plants were racially polluted from the pollen of genetically engineered canola from neighboring fields, and Europe and Asian countries won't buy genetically engineered canola. So genetic engineered farming takes away the option of other farmers to NOT be genetically engineered. Agribusiness is the force behind genetic engineering. Moreover, they seek to make it impossible for farmers to save seeds and thus be free from having to buy seeds every year. Monsanto created a "suicide plant" that grows from the seed, but the plant produces sterile seeds, so you have to buy their seeds EVERY YEAR. Suppose "suicide plants" spread to wild plants? Extinction of whole plant species could ensue. Agribusiness takes billions of dollars in subsidies from the government even while it forces small farms out of business. It is violating anti-trust laws and RICO like mad, but agribusiness has corrupted the US government so completely that it doesn't get prosecuted. America was built on small farms, and the Agribusiness model of Centralized Agriculture puts us more at risk of starvation, while Decentralized Agriculture (millions of small farms all over the place) provides for far better FOOD SECURITY. Remember this term "FOOD SECURITY" because it will be a popular term in the future. Agribusiness will pitch genetic engineering as the solution to FOOD SECURITY, but they are evil liars. Decentralized Agriculture, Local Agriculture, is the only path to FOOD SECURITY.
The Local Agriculture Movement, a cooperative movement between consumers and farmers, has the potential to take out Agribusiness by destroying it's market. Economically, Local Agriculture beats Agribusiness hands down. Think about it. Farmer grows food, you go to him and pick up your harvest. No middle men, and relatively small overhead. Agribusiness uses huge equipment and millions of laborers and trucks the food across the country, taking all sorts of measures to keep it appearing fresh for a week or longer, and stores it at the produce section of the supermarket. Massive Overhead. Economically, Agribusiness is vulnerable to a Local Agriculture Movement if this movement was large enough.
Second, a large Local Ag Movement would become a political force and start scrutinizing farm subsidies. Why should we pay taxes to Agribusiness when we don't eat their food, right? Imagine 50 million citizens calling their elected representatives and demanding an end to Agricultural subsidies?
Enough writing. It's time to start seedlings in your house, particularly onions, garlic and tomatoes. Start them in peat pots, and keep them in a sunny location or put lights on them.
With this sort of thing what you do is more important than what you write, although you should write about your experiences and try to inspire others and help them. Here's some organic seed sources:
And a source for Amish tools -- get yourself a broadfork/U-Bar Digger instead of using a rototiller or tractor!
Healthy Food supply is key to a healthy population. Share techniques/methods/secrets with the rest, to help us help ourselves...
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